Three French Knots

comments: 42


Thank you for all the generous and thoughtful comments yesterday. I read them in the studio where I was hanging out with my eight-year-old niece. It was a great auntie moment late in the afternoon when she learned how to do the French knot. I had prepared her for its difficulty — remember how long it took my friend Lori to learn it and how excited she was when she "got" it on the bus? I swear old Lori must have tried it fifty times before she got it. I told Arden that she might not get it the first time, but not to worry, etc., etc, etc., etc.

Silly me. I am an Ieronemo after all, and that's what we do, remember? My niece brushed off my warnings, deftly completed the French knot the first time, declared it too "off on one side," then proceeded to do two in the exact center of the next two red dots, all in about four seconds. Cinchy. Aunt Alicia watched, amazed: "Wow! Wow! Great work!" She thanked me, then picked up the "real" project she was working on (the red-dots stuff was just practice) and I picked up my project and we continued to work across the table from each other in silence for about five minutes when she said imperially, "Aunt Alicia, why did you think it was hard? It was so easy, why did you even think it was so hard? It was so easy!" And on about it like this as if she simply could not conceive of a world where the French knot was a challenge.

"A little modesty, please!" I exclaimed.

Oh, I am so excited about tomorrow. So excited. The Bourne Ultimatum. The Bourne Ultimatum!!! Next time I complain about self-employment you remind me that I am going to see The Bourne Ultimatum in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday and I will shut the hell up. Because I am psyched. I can't wait.

* Thoughts and prayers going out to Minneapolis. *

Thanks Jill for the head's up on a French knot tutorial at the Purl Bee. Those pillows are super cute, too. New sofa idea, hrmmm. . . .


Wow! Kudos to Arden. I have yet to nail the French knot. I like the idea of practicing with polka dot fabric. Have fun at the movies!

they filmed a scene from the movie right in front of my office in nyc. they made us back away from the window several times though because the camera could see us gawking!

Hmm, I can't remember how to do french knots. I think I've done a couple successfully in my lifetime, so maybe there's hope for me. What lovely auntie-niece times you've had. Quiet co-crafting? Sheer Heaven.

Did you read the Bourne books? I was REALLY into them when they first came out. How many decades ago was that? I loved my thrillers in those days. Now I hardly read at all. Thank Goodness there are movies and Matt Damon :)

I too have always found the french knot to be a bit of a challenge. I think it has to do with the fact that my hands are always sweaty when I do them. But enough of the knots and on to the buttermilk pound cake. I had to go to the dentist this morning and after a perfect check up I decided a fitting reward would be a high sugar delectable delightful buttermilk poundcake. I took your advice and floured the pan and cooked mine for about 84 minutes and wa la! tre bon!
Sheer perfection and it melts in your mouth and I am in heaven.

Ahhh, cinchy, my good old 4th grade word! Thanks for the memory! I have never found French knots cinchy, though. Mine seem to pull through to the back side of the work as often as they sit up top. I can do them, but would rather do other stitches!

Yay Arden!!! Way to go!
She is the cutest! :O)

Wow, I am just about to start embroidery and I read about the french knot, looked easy enough, oh boy I hope it's not too hard, I don't want to get on a bus! :OP

Ahhh, I love the Bourne movies too, awesome! Have fun!

We're looking forward to The Bourne Ultimatum too and will be sitting in the theater at 1:00 in the afternoon with popcorn and Junior Mints at the ready! My daughter has a crush on Matt Damon and Momma thinks he's pretty darn cute too ;)

Just had some major issues with the French Knot and The Purl Bee came to the rescue! I wrote to them and they did a nice post about it on their site - great instructions. Glad to know i'm not the only one who struggles with them...

Though I have been reading your posts for a while this is my first comment (I am a bit shy when it comes to blogging), but I just love the little stories about your niece, they remind me so much of my own little sister who is seven and just finding her own love of hand made objects!

way to go with those french knots! i have a feeling it would take me quite a bit longer than 4 seconds to get that down....
enjoy your afternoon at the movies. :)

Elizabeth says: August 02, 2007 at 11:49 AM

How cute that your niece will have all those special memories with her auntie when she grows up. I'm sure she does know how lucky she is!
I can't wait to see the Bourne Ultimatum!! I remember when the first one came out and it was all in Paris. We watched that two weeks before we moved there! So,that was a special one for us.
We will probably go next week. Have fun with your niece and enjoy the movie :)

Elizabeth says: August 02, 2007 at 11:54 AM

Oops I forgot to mention above how much I LOVE doing French knots. The last French knot project I did was a baby pillow from a French magazine called "Idees" (not Marie Claire Idees) and all the barnyard animals were French knots. I really wish that they would sell that magazine here in the States,since all the patterns are stapled in the center of the magazine and ready to go. I'm excited that my daughter is going to France for three weeks and I have her looking for all of them to bring back for me. There is another one out there that is called Broderie et Coudre. Love that one.
Anyway, thought I'd put my two cents in about French knots

Matt Damon was on the Jay Leno show a couple of days ago, and right in the middle of the interview, with him smiling his endearing, boyish smile, and starting into a story about his days before "making it," the station/satellite/signal switched over to some soap opera from India, and went on and on and on...! I was missing it! I was missing Matt Damon's funny and witty sayings! Oh, ugh! And then after some tortuous minutes, he *finally* came back on again, but I'm so bitter. I did get to see a brief clip from the movie, though, have a great time tomorrow. I'll be waiting for it to come out on Netflix, oh, please hurry!

On my birthday I'm having some of my best friends come over and we're watching the first Bourne movies then in the morning we're going to see Bourne U. in the theater. German chocolate cake and Chinesse food included.... :-)


Hi Alicia and Andy! Reading your blog is like opening a present. Im so glad its here. Thank you.

Good for Arden for mastering a tough knot. She is lucky to have such a wonderful aunt.

Bwahahah, I had my own French knot moment on the weekend. It... it wasn't a good moment.

Fantastic-I would love to teach my nieces how to embroider, but at the moment I'm happy to embroider for them. French knots are tricky to master but great when you get them right- earlier this year I completed a tree of French knots for my nieces embroidery :)Love your blog

Freedom knots? Just kidding.

I too lust after the Bourne boy. It's the dimples!

It is so sweet that you take time to teach your niece how to sew. I have instructions on my site on how to make a fairy house, you might like to make with her. Nita

You should see me try to tie my knots with both hands--and I'm just talking tying the knot at the end of the thread just to sew. I'm kinda gimpy at it.
And I love the Bourne movies. They're the only movies that make me hot for Matt Damon--anything else he looks like a boy.

I just finished up making over the guest room into a sewing room. I brought my son's laptop up just to get away from everything for a bit and I found your lovely blog. I'm savoring my few minutes overlooking treetops, reading about your french knots in my new sewing room! Blessings...

Wendy WVG says: August 02, 2007 at 07:48 PM

Thanks for the thoughts for us here in MN. My husband drives that bridge every day to/from work. He was home that day already and we are saying our prayers for us and all the others that weren't so lucky! Love your blog!!

I'm incredibly jealous. My French knots look like aquarium gravel. Psyched, too, about the new Bourne movie although it will be a couple of weeks until Honey and I can go. I'm really looking forward to it.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.